On Friday, May 9, Island Harvest Food Bank kicked off the Nourish New York Initiative - a program to feed thousands of hungry New Yorkers across the state - with a drive-through food distribution event at the Westfield Sunrise Mall in Massapequa.
According to a statement released by New York State Agricultural Department, the initiative, launched by Governor Andrew Cuomo, will provide $25 million to food banks for the purchase of surplus agricultural products from New York State farms to distribute to populations who need them most.
“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York food banks have seen a dramatic increase in demand, in some regions up to 200 percent, as many New Yorkers struggle to put food on the table,” the statement said. “At the same time, New York’s farmers and producers have been faced with their own unprecedented extreme financial difficulties. Many have lost up to 50 percent of their markets through the closure of schools and restaurants, leaving them without a place to sell their perishable products.”
Through the initiative, New York State is purchasing food and products from more than 2,100 New York farms and providing support to nearly 50 food banks, soup kitchens, and food pantries. The plan is for more than 20,000 households across the state to receive Nourish New York products over the next week.
During the Island Harvest event, products grown and produced in New York State were distributed to people in need in six communities impacted by the coronavirus on Long Island, including Amityville, Copiague, East Farmingdale, Farmingdale, East Massapequa, Massapequa, Massapequa Park, North Amityville, and West Babylon.
- 14,000 units of yogurt from Chobani (Norwich, New York)
- 3,500 units of mozzarella from Galbani Cheese (Buffalo, New York)
- 7,000 pounds of Ruby Frost apples from Hudson River Fruit Distributors (Milton, New York)
- 3,500 pounds of hot dogs and sausages from Lucki 7 Livestock Farm (Rodman, New York)
- 3,500 gallons of milk from Queensboro Farms (Canastota, New York)
- 3,500 units of greens from Satur Farms (Cutchogue, New York)
- 14,000 units of New York Juice Co. grape juice from Splendid Blend (Great Neck, New York)
- 3,500 pounds of onions, 7,000 pounds of potatoes, and 3,500 heads of cabbage from Torrey Farms (Elba, New York)
Hudson River Fruit Distributors, Lucki 7 Livestock Farm, Satur Farms, Chobani, and New York Juice Co. are also part of the New York State Grown & Certified program, which indicates that they have been certified for safe food handling and environmental stewardship.
Long Island has been especially hard hit.
“The unprecedented economic upheaval brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with Long Island’s high cost of living, has created an unparalleled standard of need,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, President and CEO, Island Harvest Food Bank.
Nourish New York is working to reroute New York’s surplus agricultural products to the populations who need them most through New York’s network of food banks. The State is also asking any philanthropies that would like to help the State's food banks to contact Fran Barrett, Director of Non-Profits at COVIDPhilanthropies@exec.ny.gov.